Rumour Mill: Sunderland want Gers defender | O’Neill says no | Lennon slams Levein

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Scottish football gossip: Sunderland linked with move for Rangers defender David Bates; SFA fears Michael O’Neill will turn down Scotland job and Neil Lennon accuses Craig Levein of disrespect

Gers fear Bates exit

David Bates is on Sunderland's radar. Picture: SNS Group

David Bates is on Sunderland's radar. Picture: SNS Group

Rangers fear losing David Bates to the English Championship after Sunderland were credited with an interest in the 21-year-old, according to reports.

The Ibrox side have held contract talks with Bates but he is yet to sign a new deal, with his current contract expiring this summer. The Gers would only pick up a five-figure compensation fee if the Black Cats made a move.

A formal offer from Sunderland could prompt Bates into a rethink, especially after the arrival of Russell Martin. (Daily Record)

Crock of crap: Lennon blasts Levein

Neil Lennon was raging with Craig Levein after the Hearts manager claimed his team’s 1-0 victory in the Scottish Cup had helped ‘restore the natural order’.

The Hibs boss called the remarks a ‘crock of crap’ and accused his rival of showing a lack of humility after the result had ended the Leith team’s recent dominance in the Edinburgh derby.

Lennon said: “What does that mean? What is the natural order? Is it Hearts beating Hibs every time? It’s just a crock of crap. It’s a pretty poor statement to make. I think it’s disrespectful to my club, my players and me.” (The Scotsman)

SFA braced for O’Neill KB

The SFA fears that Michael O’Neill will turn down the chance to manage Scotland.

O’Neill held ‘productive’ talks with the SFA last week but asked for the weekend to think about the role.

And O’Neill is set to travel to Switzerland with IFA chief Patrick Nelson for Wednesday’s Nations League draw, sparking rumours he will opt to stay with Northern Ireland. (Scottish Sun)

Celtic join Allassani race?

Celtic have been linked with Dulwich Hamlet forward Reise Allassani, just days after rivals Rangers were said to be keen on the former Crystal Palace striker.

Allassani has been in fine form for the Bostik Premier League side, and reports suggest the Hoops’ scouting network has recommended the player to Brendan Rodgers. (Independent)

Stubbs linked with MK Dons job

Alan Stubbs will be interviewed for the newly vacant MK Dons role, according to reports in England.

Former Hearts boss Robbie Neilson left the club over the weekend after losing to Northampton at the weekend with the club sitting 21st in League One.

And Stubbs, who won the Scottish Cup with Hibs before an ill-fated spell managing Rotherham United, could be in the frame to succeed Neilson. (Various)

Dons get McLean back on loan

Kenny McLean is set to complete a £200,000 move to Norwich City but the former St Mirren midfielder is set to return to Aberdeen on loan for the remainder of the season after agreeing a three-and-a-half year deal at Carrow Road.

McLean indicated last year that he would be looking to move on when his current contract was up, but will now depart in the summer rather than during the current transfer window. (Scottish Sun)

Brora rewarded with Killie tie after East Fife scalp

Brora Rangers have landed a tie with Scottish Premiership side Kilmarnock after the Highland League outfit saw off East Fife at New Bayview in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup.

Elsewhere Celtic host Partick Thistle, Dundee United travel to Aberdeen, Ayr United play Fraserburgh or Rangers, Hearts will welcome Albion Rovers or St Johnstone, Livingston or Falkirk will face Formartine United or Cove Rangers, Morton host the winners of the match between Peterhead and Dumbarton and Dundee or Inverness Caledonian Thistle will face Motherwell.

Dons linked with Cadden swoop

Aberdeen have been linked with Motherwell star Chris Cadden, with Derek McInnes said to be a big fan of the 21-year-old.

He still has 18 months left on his contract but McInnes may put in a bid to test Motherwell’s resolve - even if the Steelmen did knock back a ‘derisory’ offer of £100,000 from Hearts last summer.

However, any move for Hibs midfielder Dylan McGeouch could be put on hold with Kenny McLean returning to Pittodrie on loan after his £200,000 move to Norwich City. (Daily Record)

Morelos not going anywhere

Alfredo Morelos is happy at Rangers and has no plans to leave, according to the player’s advisor.

Jonne Lindblom said: “Alfredo is enjoying his football, he is playing well at Rangers.

“When a young player is doing well, it is natural there will be interest, but there is nothing to be thinking about at the moment.” (Daily Record)

NEWS IN BRIEF

• Former Liverpool striker David N’Gog is set to snub an offer from Malaysia and will link up again with his former Bolton manager Owen Coyle at Ross County

• Celtic midfielder Tom Rogic is set for a lengthy stint on the sidelines after suffering a setback with a knee injury. The 25-year-old could be out of action until the end of March